Amid protests across the country over retail and service jobs that pay little better than the minimum wage, it’s easy to forget that this income benchmark once meant something slightly different. In the past, a minimum-wage job was actually one that could keep a single parent out of poverty.
Since the 1980s, the federal minimum wage has kept pace with neither inflation, nor the rise of the average worker’s paycheck. That means that while a federal minimum wage in 1968 could have lifted a family of three above the poverty line, now it can’t even do that for a parent with one child, working full-time, 40 hours a week and 52 weeks a year (yes, this calculation assumes that the parent takes no time off).
In a Wednesday speech, President Obama pushed for a bill that would increase the federal wage to $10.10 (a rate closer in line with the most progressive municipal minimum wages, including one Washington, D.C. looks close to adopting). Perhaps that hike sounds unrealistic by historic standards. But it would actually bring us back to the kind of income floor America ensured prior to the 1980s, before Congress stopped passing the regular adjustments necessary to keep the minimum wage a livable one. Congress has only increased it twice since 1997.
The above graph, from the Economic Policy Institute’s David Cooper, neatly illustrates the minimum wage’s precarious relationship to the poverty line. The dotted blue line at right shows what would happen if Congress were to pass the current bill proposed by Senator Tom Harkin and Representative George Miller.
All of the historic dollar values are converted into 2013 dollars. Historically, the poverty line has remained relatively constant.
It’s important to note that families living just above the federal poverty line are still struggling by many measures. But as long as the federal government bothers to identify a basic income threshold essential to scrape by, it seems only fair to hold the same government to that standard in its minimum wage policy.
I got dressed in my traditional Indian regalia, but there was a man, he was the producer of the whole show. He took that speech away from me and he warned me very sternly. “I’ll give you 60 seconds or less. And if you go over that 60 seconds, I’ll have you arrested. I’ll have you put in handcuffs.”
- Sacheen Littlefeather in Reel Injun (2009), dir. Neil Diamond.
They were MAD, CONFUSED AND PRESSED that Marlon Brando would betray White Supremacy in this way.
To this very day, they are TWISTED over this.
And when Littlefeather got up there and READ THEM FOR FILTH, they GAGGED. For eons.
So I imagine there are people like me out there who’ve never even heard of Marlon Brando and are extremely confused over why this is important.
Marlon Brando was the Don in The Godfather, and in 1973, he was nominated for and won an Academy Award for it. However, he was also a huge Natives rights activist, and boycotted the ceremony because he felt that Hollywood’s depictions of Native Americans in the media led to the Wounded Knee Incident (which I was always taught as “the second massacre at Wounded Knee” but apparently that’s not the real name). He sent Sacheen Littlefeather, an Apache Native rights activist, in his stead. Wikipedia’s article on her explains the rest:
Brando had written a 15-page speech for Littlefeather to give at the ceremony, but when the producer met her backstage he threatened to physically remove her or have her arrested if she spoke on stage for more than 60 seconds. Her on-stage comments were therefore improvised. She then went backstage and read the entire speech to the press. In his autobiography My Word is My Bond, Roger Moore (who presented the award) claims he took the Oscar home with him and kept it in his possession until it was collected by an armed guard sent by the Academy.
That is what this gifset is about.
You have GOT to read up on this. The Wounded Knee Incident, Marlon Brando and Sacheen Littlefeather, Anna Mae Aquash. ALL OF IT.
Hot damn. I’m beyond ready for more of this.
UPDATE: This petition must get 100,000 signatures by December 24th of this year! Boost this as much as you possibly can and make sure to sign!
In 31 states, rapists are allowed to sue victims they’ve impregnated for custody rights.
There’s a case in Boston, MA right now in which a rapist is taking advantage of this. He pleaded guilty of rape in 2011 and was sentenced to 16 years probation; however, this sentence includes 16 years of family court as well, which the victim must also attend. He’s using this to sue for joint custody of her child and will only withdraw his law suit if he is free from paying any form of child support. This entire sentence seems like much more of a punishment for the victim than it is for the rapist, and for the state to allow such a thing, the victim is suing.
As stated in the court complaint, “Even if the family court ruled in the [victim]’s favor on issues currently in dispute, such as whether the criminal defendant should be granted visitation rights to [her] child, [she] will suffer harm from the constant threat of new issues arising in family court until her child reaches adulthood, including, for example, efforts by the criminal defendant to seek to modify child support orders and enforce his parental rights at the trial court level and on appeal.”
If this woman is forced to attend 16 years of family court with her rapist, she is not only forced to confront a traumatic event that she should never have to deal with again, but she is subjected to the possibility of losing pieces of her child to him over and over again for all of those years. In addition to this constant state of fear and anguish she would face, just by being sent to something considered ‘family’ court—for her and her rapist—she’s being disrespected and her rape undermined by even the suggestion that this is a family situation. By doing this, the law is making felony into family.
In 31 states, rapists are actually given rights instead of having much of anything taken away. In being given these rights, they are being given the chance to further torment the woman and possibly abuse the child. It is not okay to reward rapists and further punish victims, and the ignorance of rape and how our justice system is handling it needs to turn around.
Please sign this petition to ban rapists from being able to sue for custody rights. This issue is so little known, yet so important, and I don’t know any better way of trying to make this change.
HOW ARE THERE LESS THAN A HUNDRED SIGNATURES!?!!
Come on, people!
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Israeli Women Risk Arrest To Take Palestinian Women To The Beach
TEL AVIV — Skittish at first, then wide-eyed with delight, the women and girls entered the sea, smiling, splashing and then joining hands, getting knocked over by the waves, throwing back their heads and ultimately laughing with joy.
The women were Palestinians from the southern part of the West Bank, which is landlocked, and Israel does not allow them in. They risked criminal prosecution, along with the dozen Israeli women who took them to the beach. And that, in fact, was part of the point: to protest what they and their hosts consider unjust laws.
In the grinding rut of Israeli-Palestinian relations — no negotiations, mutual recriminations, growing distance and dehumanization — the illicit trip was a rare event that joined the simplest of pleasures with the most complex of politics. It showed why coexistence here is hard, but also why there are, on both sides, people who refuse to give up on it.
“What we are doing here will not change the situation,” said Hanna Rubinstein, who traveled to Tel Aviv from Haifa to take part. “But it is one more activity to oppose the occupation. One day in the future, people will ask, like they did of the Germans: ‘Did you know?’ And I will be able to say, ‘I knew. And I acted.’ ”
Such visits began a year ago as the idea of one Israeli, and have blossomed into a small, determined movement of civil disobedience.
Ilana Hammerman, a writer, translator and editor, had been spending time in the West Bank learning Arabic when a girl there told her she was desperate to get out, even for a day. Ms. Hammerman, 66, a widow with a grown son, decided to smuggle her to the beach. The resulting trip, described in an article she wrote for the weekend magazine of the newspaper Haaretz, prompted other Israeli women to invite her to speak, and led to the creation of a group they call We Will Not Obey. It also led a right-wing organization to report her to the police, who summoned her for questioning.
In a newspaper advertisement, the group of women declared: “We cannot assent to the legality of the Law of Entry into Israel, which allows every Israeli and every Jew to move freely in all regions between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River while depriving Palestinians of this same right. They are not permitted free movement within the occupied territories nor are they allowed into the towns and cities across the green line, where their families, their nation, and their traditions are deeply rooted.
“They and we, all ordinary citizens, took this step with a clear and resolute mind. In this way we were privileged to experience one of the most beautiful and exciting days of our lives, to meet and befriend our brave Palestinian neighbors, and together with them, to be free women, if only for one day.”
The police have questioned 28 Israeli women; their cases are pending. So far, none of the Palestinian women and girls have been caught or questioned by the police.
The beach trip last week followed a pattern: the Palestinian women went in disguise, which meant removing clothes rather than covering up. They sat in the back seats of Israeli cars driven by middle-aged Jewish women and took off headscarves and long gowns. As the cars drove through an Israeli Army checkpoint, everyone just waved.
Every day, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people experience discrimination in the workplace. Typically, it is rooted in homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia, or mere cultural incompetency of what reality is like for LGBT people—-and the consequences are real. Workplace discrimination makes it difficult for Black LGBT workers to secure a job, and financially provide for themselves and their families. The negative treatment that LGBT people encounter, oftentimes solely based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, is further exacerbated for Black LGBT people.
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would change this by allowing every worker to be judged on their merits, talents, and qualifications, not on who they are or whom they love. This change could be the first step to ensuring that LGBT workers, and especially Black LGBT workers, are economically secure.
Currently, there are no binding workplace protections for the nearly nine million LGBT workers throughout the United States. If passed, ENDA would become the first federal law that provides explicit workplace protections for LGBT individuals by prohibiting most employers from discriminating against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. This federal protection is critical given that it is still perfectlylegal to fire someone simply because they are lesbian, gay, or bisexual in 29 states in this country, and in 33 states simply because they are transgender or gender-nonconforming.
Here’s why enacting ENDA is critical to the economic stability of all LGBT people, especially Black LGBT people.
Black LGBT people are economically insecure and are at a high risk of poverty.Contrary to the myth of gay affluence and grossly fabricated mainstream depictions of a predominately-white LGBT community, LGBT people are racially and financially diverse. In a 2012 Gallup poll, for example, LGBT people were more likely to identify as people of color compared to non-LGBT people. Black Americans were themost likelyto identify as LGBT, and research shows thatBlack LGBT people, in particular, are at a much higher risk of poverty than other groups. The lack of job security for LGBT people, given they can be fired at a moment’s notice just for being LGBT, further exacerbates this economic insecurity.
Large numbers of LGBT people live in states with no workplace protections, and many of those states have high populations of Black LGBT people. Black same-sex couples are more likely to live in areas with higher concentrations of Black people, rather than metropolitan areas known for large LGBT populations. For example, southern statescomprise some of the largest numbersof Black same-sex couples raising children, but places like Mississippi, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina have no statewide LGBT workplace protections, thus leaving LGBT families economically vulnerable.
When compounded with race, sexual orientation, and gender identity, Black LGBT people are particularly vulnerable to a lack of workplace protections. When intersected, racism, sexism, homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia can create disparate job bias against Black LGBT people. Frequently, Black LGBT workers are among some of the most marginalized people due to lack of workplace policies and employers who discriminate. Due to race-based discrimination, LGBT animus, lack of workplace protections, and minimal help to get out of poverty, LGBT workers can find themselves in a precarious situation. These are only a few impediments that prevent Black LGBT people from finding and keeping a steady job – one that allows them to financially provide for themselves and their family.
Today in Thailand, riot cops yield to peaceful protesters by removing barricades AND their helmets in a shocking gesture of solidarity.